Girl's winning Google Doodle shows her dad home from war

A picture depicting a girl's reunion with her father returning from war has won the top award in a Google Doodle contest.

On display Thursday at Google's home page, "Coming Home" is a simple but powerful piece of art that portrays a young girl holding an American flag and running to reunite with her father. The returning soldier appears. They exchange a glance. And finally they fall into a deep embrace as they treasure their moment together again.

Created by 12th grader Sabrina Brady of Sparta, Wisc., "Coming Home" faced great competition in being crowned the 2013 U.S. Doodle 4 Google national winner. Google received more than 130,000 submissions for the contest, which garnered millions of votes. But in the end, Sabrina's drawing clearly moved the voters.… Read more

The best games of E3 2012

LOS ANGELES--With another E3 almost in the books, we're taking a look back at the best games of the show. If you notice, more than half the games here don't have a number at the end. This year we're rewarding originality, innovation, and games that captivate.

Click through to our gallery of games, and if you don't see a title you think should be there, be sure to sound off in the comments section below.

iTunes contest winner's surprise--a call from Jobs

It's not every day you get a personal call from Steve Jobs, so it stands to reason that when you pick up the phone and Jobs is on the other end, you'd think you're being pranked.

That's exactly what Louie Sulcer, winner of iTunes' 10 Billionth Song Contest, thought when Jobs dialed him up to tell him the good news, according to a report from Rolling Stone.

Apparently, when Sulcer heard Jobs say, "This is Steve Jobs from Apple," he replied, "Yeah right! Come on now, who is this?" But when he saw the caller ID, which was simply "Apple," Sulcer he realized he was actually the winner of a $10,000 iTunes gift card. He later told Rolling Stone he had a son who loves playing tricks and thought he was the one making the Jobs call.… Read more

A winning choice

Use your computer long enough and you will start notice that things aren't what they used to be. Your hard drive is filling up with unneeded files, your system's performance is slowing down, and evidence of your Internet usage is everywhere. Privacy Winner is a multifeatured application that helps you manage all of these problems.

Privacy Winner's interface is sleek and intuitive, with its major features separated into different screens that are accessed with a set of attractive buttons. The Security screen allows users to scan for and delete a variety of types of information, including Internet … Read more

Survey: IT spending to recover in 2010

Goldman Sachs' latest IT spending survey is out and it looks a tech-spending recovery is on the way for 2010. To a large extent, the data suggests not so much that spending is dramatically higher, but that it has normalized at pre-recessionary growth rates, rather than contracting as it has over the past several months.

Goldman is cautiously optimistic about 2010 spending, noting that much of it depends on the macro-economic environment driving more business spending. And while most areas will see growth counter to 2009's downward spiral, some areas such as off-shore development will feel significant retraction.

Regardless, the sentiments are positive and dramatically different than Goldman's report from November 2008 where IT spending was in a total death spiral. What a difference a year makes.

A few key points from the report:

With recessionary buying cycle clearly through the trough, the remaining question centers on the pace of recovery for 2010. Infrastructure, application development, and systems integration remain top spending areas, especially as CIOs start to consider newer technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing. There is pent-up demand in hardware most notable, positive for storage and server/PC refresh. The appetite for offshore services appears to be below trend at current levels. HP, NetApp, CommVault, Red Hat, Riverbed, and are notable names showing positive upward momentum in our latest survey.

In software, Red Hat and showed strengthened results with VMware and Citrix remaining top of mind, which Goldman believes to be a good indication of internal and external cloud deployments gaining momentum.

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The 404 457: Where Justin gets some tail on Halloween

They said it would never happen, but the day has finally come for Justin to get some much-needed he dons a skunk costume and becomes Justin Le Pieu for today's very unspooky Halloween episode of The 404! Be sure to check out today's video for all the details. Since Jeff is out today and this coming Monday for who-knows-what, the guys ask everyone's favorite Kenley and Alli to help co-host the show.

Unfortunately, with the Swine Flu hitting New York at full force, nobody in the office is feeling too hot for the holiday, but they do their best and don some shades as they recall last night's CNET's Client Halloween Party. Kenley chooses her top picks for the Best Costume Award and Alli tells everyone a horrifying story that happened on her way to work this me folks, NOTHING is scarier than a mouthful of New York trash water.

As October slowly fades away, and with great reluctance and tears, we must say goodbye to Beck's Beer and the Semi-Weekly Audio Draft, but not before Wilson debuts our last pick. Continuing in our tradition of introducing new and different genres of music, Fool's Gold plays a unique blend of South African, Ethiopian, and Eritrean influenced music with a twist--lead vocalist Luke Top was born and raised in Israel and sings the majority of the lyrics (although many of the tracks, including our first pick, are instrumental) in Hebrew.

The two featured tracks on today's episode are called "Surprise Hotel" and "Ha Dvash." If you're into the band, you can even win a date with Alli and Kenley to go see the band perform on November 17 at the Bowery Ballroom here in New York! All interested parties should submit a photo, general interests, date ideas, and a brief cover letter to the404(at)cnet(dot)com.

Have a great Halloween folks, and be safe!

EPISODE 457 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video

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Football spread predictor

NFL Forecaster helps users predict weekly professional football games. While its depth is impressive, the amount of manual input may scare off some.

The program's interface is a cluttered and confusing mix of charts and statistics. We did ourselves a favor and consulted the Help file, specifically its alphabetized topics list, whenever a hurdle presented itself. The program excels at showing the current week's professional football match-ups and giving the spread (how many points the winner will win by). We were unable to know how accurately the program predicts scores since this was tested before the season, but … Read more

E3 winner: Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo?

With E3 returning to its old, bigger-is-better format, there seemed to be more at stake at this year's show. Could Nintendo provide enough compelling news to hold onto its lead? Would Microsoft trot out something to create new enthusiasm for its Xbox 360 platform? And could Sony reveal anything that might give it some much-needed momentum?

Alas, as it goes most of the time at E3, none of the companies truly hit it out of the park and a lot of what was announced was already leaked to greater or lesser degrees before the show started. However, that doesn't mean we can't try to objectively determine which companies did themselves some good--and which companies may not have.

Here's a quick recap of the news conferences from each camp and my quick assessments. But nevermind what I say, feel free to add your own comments--and try to be objective.

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The 404 221: Where Randall Bennett makes his holographic debut

OMG, WTF, LMAO, and a million other Internet expletives for our new leader, Mr. Barack Obama. Even Jeff, The Lone Hater, can't seem to contain his excitement over the election results. Former 404 host Randall Bennett also joins us via completely useless hologram to share in the excitement and recap the events. Hats off to you, Mr. President. Please give us a call if you're ever in the Gramercy, N.Y. area, we'll see if we can pencil you into the show.

Even though all of us are out of breath and stricken with sore throats from a night of "Whoos!" and "F**K You Tennessee," we still manage to drag ourselves into the studio this morning to celebrate our country's triumphant return to common sense. It's like waking up from an awful nightmare that somehow managed to last eight grueling years. Our special guest on the show today is Randall Bennett, former host of The 404, who helps us weigh on the presidential election, the cheerful optimism resonating from the streets of New York, Twitter's flawless victory in the face of 13562834791 simultaneous tweets, and perhaps most hilarious--the AMAZING CNN HOLOGRAMS! Because when you've got money coming out of your ears and split screens just aren't enough, count on CNN to be the face of American frivolity. USA! USA! USA!

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The 404 220: Where we finally endorse a candidate

Up until this point, The 404 has tried to remain nonpartisan (untrue), never officially endorsing a candidate, but that rule is chucked out the window on today's show. It's a big announcement that's literally no surprise to anyone, but we make it anyway. Lots of election talk today, mostly about free corporate-sponsored junk food you can get for voting. We also talk about GPS chastity belts, marital affair enablers, and the best position to take while docking your iPod Touch. Wilson, you dirty birdy, you.

I had every intention of forcing you to listen to today's show for our official political endorsement, but screw it, I'm going to do it right here and now. The pundits at The 404 have unanimously decided that Professor Charles Xavier is the best hope we have for our nation's successful future. His not-for-profit work with our world's gifted youngsters prove his social skills, his political prowess, and ultimately his potential to be an extraordinary leader in these desperate times. It's time for a change, and we completely believe that Charles Xavier's innate telepathic powers can grab us by the coattails and pull us our of our eight-year rut. Too long has Erik "Magneto" Lensherr been allowed to employ his Brotherhood of Mutants at the political expense of our fair country. We need a juggernaut in the oval office, and Professor X is our man.

The 404 is delighted to support Professor Xavier and also very pleased to see him choose Peter Nikolaievitch Rasputin as his Vice President. Peter, or "Colossus" as we've come to know him through the years, has proven his executive talent, toughness, and ability to knock through several layers of brick time and time again. The Prof X/Colossus team is an unstoppable one and we're excited to see what they can do in 2009. If you care about the welfare of this nation, please cast your vote for Charles Xavier and Colossus today.

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